The Hungarian Presidency welcomes the European Parliament’s (EP) commitment to the single market, Minister of State for EU Affairs, Enikő Győri, announced in the debate at the EP’s plenary meeting, held in Strasbourg on 6 April 2011. According to the Ms Győri, EU institutions have to give a joint political incentive to the internal market.
The European Parliament conducted a joint debate on three of its initiatives. On behalf of the Council, Ms Győri reminded that at times of crisis, when governments have very limited means to boost the economy, the single market offers an enormous unexploited potential, which can stimulate growth and job creation. This is an absolute priority for the Presidency.
Council willing to cooperate
Ms Győrialso touched on the EP’s concerns that the Council is too busy with financial stabilisation, and neglects real economy issues and the creation of conditions required for growth. She said these fears maybe allayed by the exploitation of the internal market’s potential, and the transformation of the single market action package into specific laws. She confirmed that the Council is willing to cooperate with the Parliament, and the Commission in this field.
The Minister of State pointed out that both the economic-financial crisis and the measures taken to mitigate its impact have increasingly made citizens, businesses, and institutions, question the benefit of the single market. “The single market is not necessarily a popular idea among them. Therefore, the time has clearly come to give a considerable political incentive to the single market,” Ms Győri stressed.
Bringing the EU closer to citizens
“The single market is facing a tall order,” the Ms Győripointed out in her speech. Will the single market bring the EU closer to its citizens, by achieving palpable improvement in their daily lives, or will the tight bottlenecks persist, preventing the operation of the single market? Ms Győri asked. She declared that according to the Presidency, the answer depends on the commitment of the Council, the Commission, and the Parliament to implementing the main parts of the single market action package, in the coming months. She expressed hope that in reviewing the relevant statement, the Commission will duly consider the political messages expressed in the EP’s reports, and the conclusions adopted by the Competitiveness Council’s meeting in March.
According to Ms Győri, the Presidency expects the Council to build “special partnerships,” with the EP and the Commission to accept the legislative proposals on the single market action package, as soon as possible.
On behalf of the Hungarian Presidency, Ms Győri welcomed the report, which invites the European Council to put the issue of the single market onto its agenda. She especially thanked the Parliament for its support to enhanced cooperation for the creation of a unitary patent system. She shared the idea in the EP reports that the extension of the single digital market, the reinforcement of Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and the improvement of their situation, is vital to promoting innovation.
No reason for complacency
European citizens are particularly interested in mobility, especially through the recognition of professional qualifications, and EU action in this field could produce immediate and concrete results, Enikő Győri said. She welcomed the significant achievements in the enforcement of citizens’ rights, in the internal market. She also referred to the website “Your Europe,” the SOLVIT network, and the one-stop-shop administration points, established under the services directive. At the same time, she said there is no reason for complacency, and there remains a lot to be done, for citizen’s rights.
In response to the debate, Minister of State, Enikő Győri, said, the contributions have strengthened the Presidency’s belief in terms of the internal market having a key role in kick starting the long-desired economic growth, and creating new jobs in the European Union. Many important contributions have been made, which the Presidency can incorporate into the Council’s work.
Giving an advantage to small and medium enterprises
Ms Győrideclared that small and medium enterprises are key players in the internal market, so the Presidency wishes to do its utmost to give them an advantage, and grant them easier access to funds, reduce their administrative burden, and provide simplified access to public procurement. She went on to highlight that the Presidency considers it extremely important to review the set of actions set for small enterprises.
The digital market offers many opportunities. Ms Győristressed the importance of paperless administration and the improvement of the conditions of concluding business deals; and recalled that the directive on consumer protection is in place to encourage cross-border business transactions. Simplified electronic processing is also a key element of the services directive. Finally, Ms Győri underlined, that the fully achieved internal market is not feasible without a fully achieved transport and energy infrastructure. This is why the Hungarian Presidency considers it a priority to build up the single energy market.
Social dimension and competitiveness
Concerning the social dimension of the set of actions on the single market, Ms Győri stated that the Presidency’s motto is “Strong Europe,” which puts the human factor in focus. However, she underlined that a balanced approach should be sought, and every aspect should be taken into account. She acknowledged that the defence of the European social model is a difficult task, but the EU’s competitiveness depends on whether Member States can adapt this model to the challenges of the 21st century.